Thursday, August 16, 2018

Toolbox

  • Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018
Real-time gear rental bidding platform ShareGrid PRO debuts
Via ShareGrid PRO production managers can shop for the best deal on gear from trusted rental houses.
LOS ANGELES -- 

ShareGrid, a company that three years ago made its name in the film gear business with its indie style peer-to-peer rental service, is shaking things up again with a radical new approach to sourcing gear. They are calling it ShareGrid PRO and this time it’s aimed at serving large commercial and studio productions.

“This is very different kind of gear rental experience,” said ShareGrid’s CEO Marius Ciocirlan. “This new tool is designed specifically for the gear needs of large productions.”

The magic of ShareGrid PRO comes from the company joining forces with over twenty rental houses who will give quotes in a real-time bidding platform to supply all the gear for a company’s upcoming production.

“PRO is a producer’s dream tool” said Brett Blake, a Los Angeles based freelance producer. “It removes so many steps in the process of getting rental quotes and shopping around to work with new rental houses. I loved using it.”

Producers save time and money
ShareGrid PRO is a new patent-pending, centralized bidding and booking system. Production managers can submit their gear requests in under two minutes at www.sharegrid.com/pro. Each request is automatically turned into a project dashboard to view the returning bids, message rental agents, make changes, share with their team, and instantly book the gear. No more email threads.

Once a bid is selected, the client can checkout with their insurance and credit card or purchase-order already on file. Productions then communicate directly with the rental house by phone, sms, email or through the web to arrange pickup and prep. No additional payment authorization forms, contracts, or separate communications are needed. No need to manage multiple accounts since ShareGrid serves as the agent for all the rental houses.

An unrivaled value proposition
Production companies benefit from ShareGrid PRO because they get the combination of one-stop digital convenience, choice, and the reliable service of a brick-and-mortar rental house. ShareGrid PRO does not require any fees, contracts, or disclosure of the project and company details. Production companies only pay the price of the bid they select.

“ShareGrid PRO ensures productions are getting the best deal,” said Ciocirlan.

Through ShareGrid PRO, a rental house’s service, price, available gear, location, and reputation are compared and evaluated so production managers can easily choose the best deal for their projects. Once they find what they like, they can book it with a click. 

“ShareGrid PRO was born out of necessity,” said Ciocirlan. “This is what producers have consistently asked us for. Many industries are changing rapidly with new tools and services, it’s important for all of us who supply film gear to change too.”

Rental houses get new business
Once seen as unlikely allies, ShareGrid and rental houses have more recently found a symbiotic relationship. “The past year has brought ShareGrid and rental houses together because we need each other,” says James Keblas, ShareGrid’s Director of Business Development. “ShareGrid knows how to build the best digital marketplace, while rental houses know how to provide the best gear service. This partnership was inevitable.” 

“ShareGrid has done a great job evolving their platform to benefit professional rental houses, specifically in the growing marketplace” said Suren Seron, owner of Stray Angel Films, an integrated rental house in West LA. “They have added badges, filters, fraud detection and other services that give us much more visibility to the community. PRO is the culmination of years of marketplace experience and was the logical outcome for a true online rental platform and professional rental house partnership. We view it as a promising and very valuable sales tool for growing rental houses like ours.  This brings in more business and gives us a competitive advantage through increased visibility to key decision makers at established production companies, MCNs, studios, and major content platforms.”

Brent Barbano, Los Angeles based cinematographer and ShareGrid Co-Founder described ShareGrid PRO as, “giving rental houses the ability to focus on service. Great service is the differentiator in this business. Most of the gear is the same, what rental houses provide that is special is service; being there when equipment goes down, taking proper care of their gear, and being the best at their craft.” Brent jokingly added, “We are forming the Justice League of gear rentals.”

  • Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2018
Morgan Beall named Ncam's VP of North America 
Morgan Beall
LONDON -- 

Ncam Technologies, a developer of real-time augmented reality technology for the entertainment industries, has appointed Morgan Beall to the role of VP of North America sales. With the expected growth in Ncam’s core markets of broadcast graphics, film and TV VFX, sports, and enterprise AR, Beall will play a key part in developing Ncam’s presence in North America and Canada, as the company prepares to open a dedicated sales and support office in Los Angeles.

Beall joins Ncam from RED Digital Cinema where she spent six years in increasingly senior sales roles, most recently as business development manager.

Ncam CEO Nic Hatch said of Beall, “Her extensive knowledge of the media technology industry together with her proven sales acumen will help us to expand Ncam’s reach in the region and deliver a more localized sales and support experience for our valued North American and Canadian customers and partners.”

Beall said, “We have only scratched the surface of augmented reality and its possibilities, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring Ncam’s advanced technology to a wider audience.”

  • Monday, Jun. 11, 2018
ARRI Makes ARRIRAW Available for AMIRA
ARRI AMIRA
MUNICH, Germany -- 

ARRI is enabling owners and operators of AMIRA cameras to record in ARRIRAW. The change will involve the installation of the new Software Update Package SUP 5.3, and the purchase of a license. It will give cinematographers the option to record ARRIRAW 2.8K up to 48fps, which increases the versatility of their AMIRA even further, and gives them more options to offer clients.  

“It’s a response to an increasing demand,” said Markus Duerr, the ARRI AMIRA product manager. “With the growing popularity of ARRIRAW, more and more AMIRA users have been asking us to make it available to them.” 

ARRIRAW data produced from an ARRI AMIRA can be considered a digital version of a camera negative. It is the only format that retains the camera’s natural color response and great exposure latitude as uncompressed and unencrypted sensor data. The originally recorded raw data remains pristine, providing flexibility in postproduction and raw data archiving. 

The ARRI AMIRA is a versatile camera system that combines exceptional image quality and affordable CFast 2.0 workflows with an ergonomic design optimized for single-operator use and extended shoulder-mounted operation. Ready to pick up and shoot straight out of the camera bag, AMIRA is tough enough to take anywhere and features in-camera grading with preloaded 3D LUTs, as well as 200 fps slow motion. It is suitable for a great variety of production types, from reportage and corporate films, to TV drama and low-budget movies.

  • Thursday, Jun. 7, 2018
Chesapeake Systems names Nick Gold lead technologist
Nick Gold
BALTIMORE -- 

Chesapeake Systems, the workflow solutions architects for advanced media technology systems, has named Nick Gold to the newly created role of lead technologist. With a focus on identifying, engaging with, and evaluating new technology and vendor partner options in the marketplace, Gold is responsible for developing evolving product and service offerings for Chesapeake. He will also provide senior oversight of R&D efforts for the company.

Part of the Chesapeake team since 2004, Gold will continue to work with both clients and industry partners, developing a deep understanding of their technological and operational needs and capabilities. His new position underscores Chesapeake’s mission of engagement and partnership with clients, concentrating on analyzing the industry, anticipating future needs and challenges and identifying progressive solutions for Chesapeake’s clients’ needs.

Gold has long been focused on pioneering asset management solutions that enable creative teams and drive efficiencies in media operations. Over the years, working closely with companies that focus on the production of compelling media as their central activity, Gold has helped devise video-centric workflows for short-term production activities and long-term archive in a number of major media companies.

Jason Paquin, CEO of Chesapeake Systems, said, “As the demands for advanced technological solutions become more challenging for Chesapeake’s clients, we saw a need for expert evaluation and analysis of options. Nick has worked closely with our customers and technology vendors for many years, and brings an uncommon ability to understand the needs of clients and the technologies available to them.  We saw an incredible opportunity to put his strengths to work for our customers.”

Active in both the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), Gold speaks frequently at industry events. He will continue to be based in the Baltimore headquarters of Chesapeake Systems, which also has offices in New York and Los Angeles.

  • Monday, Jun. 4, 2018
Microsoft paying $7.5 billion for GitHub
In this April 28, 2015, file photo, a man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Microsoft says it's paying $7.5 billion in stock for the popular coder hangout GitHub.

GitHub is a platform where software developers can go to host and review each other's code.

The San Francisco startup was founded in 2008 and has grown sharply since announcing its first outside investment in 2012. It now counts about 27 million software developers around the world who use its platform to share code and build businesses. It's free to use GitHub for open-source projects, but some developers and businesses pay a monthly fee to access private code repositories and other services.

Microsoft said Monday it expects the deal to close by year-end.

  • Thursday, May. 31, 2018
NBCUniversal to showcase LightBlade LB800 At Cine Gear Expo
NBCUniversal LightBlade debuts its new LB800 product at Cine Gear Booth S107
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- 

NBCUniversal LightBlade announced its newest LED product, the LB800, in partnership with Cineo Lighting. As with its other LightBlade fixtures--the LightBlade 1K, the Ladder Light, and 1, 2 & 4 Blade configurations--the LB800 uses proprietary phosphor-converted white light LEDs, as well as phosphor-converted saturated color LEDs, to create a balanced, natural-looking spectrum.  Additional features on the LB800 include support of both 8-bit and 16-bit DMX data, as well as multiple color space personalities.  The LB800 can store and recall multiple fixture settings for quick access to frequently used lighting parameters.  NBCUniversal LightBlade is showcasing the LB800 at the Cine Gear Expo, Booth # S107.

“NBCUniversal Set Lighting Department is a principal thought leader when it comes to new technologies in lighting, and the LightBlade LB800 is no exception,” said Jamie Crosbie, VP of studio services at NBCUniversal. “The LightBlade product line continues to provide content creators the necessary tools for developing cutting edge lighting techniques in an ever evolving industry.”

The NBCUniversal LightBlade LB800 is a 24” x 48” fixture that can be configured in 10 independent zones, with complete DMX/RDM control over each zone.  It features local and remote dimming, 0-100%, calibrated in f-stops, and can be controlled via wired or built-in wireless CRMX control.  NBCUniversal LightBlade products feature reference-quality variable white light from 2700K to 6500K. They have superior color rendering with typical CRI>90, R9>95, and a saturated color engine that works creatively with high-CRI white light.  NBCUniversal LightBlade products are versatile, lightweight, silent and flicker-free, and built to endure the wear and tear of staging and production. 

  • Tuesday, May. 29, 2018
Tokyo Sound Production creates new edit rooms with DaVinci Resolve Studio, Universal Videohub
DaVinci Resolve Studio
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that Tokyo Sound Production installed a number of Blackmagic products to create a set of new postproduction studios. The new site now has DaVinci Resolve Studio, DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel, Universal Videohub 72, Smart Videohub 40x40, and a number of additional products, including Videohub Smart Control, MultiView 16, ATEM Television Studio HD, HyperDeck Studio, Audio Monitor and UltraStudio HD Mini.

Tokyo Sound Production, founded in 1963, has seven studios and offices in Tokyo. It specializes in shooting, video editing, audio engineering and music productions, as well as the production of TV programs and video material. After merging with Video Pack Nippon last summer, Tokyo Sound Production decided to create a new floor as part of their Tokyo based EX studio. The new floor includes two linear editing rooms, two non-linear editing rooms, an audio post production room and a machine room.

To help support editing, grading and audio postproduction, DaVinci Resolve Studio and DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel were installed in the non-linear editing rooms.

“The main reason we decided to install DaVinci Resolve Studio is that it now supports Fairlight and you can finish editing, grading and audio postproduction in one package,” said Shuhei Koike, technical manager of the editing department. “Previously we had many issues of version compatibility between editing software and audio software. I think DaVinci Resolve Studio is the most advanced software out there because you can complete the whole post production flow in just one system.”

“We have two systems of DaVinci Resolve Studio, one on Mac and the other on Windows, so that you can always use the best OS in any given situations. Before, it was common to use different applications for editing and audio but we expect that the situation will change and DaVinci Resolve Studio will be a mainstream tool in the post production industry in the near future. We hope that we are ready for that transition now, thanks to the new system we installed on this floor,” explained Koike.

For their new machine room, Tokyo Sound Production has installed Universal Videohub 72 and Smart Videohub 40x40 to route signals in the other rooms.

“We have two non-linear editing rooms and Smart Videohub 40x40 in the machine room that routes signals for these rooms, and use them for our title production work. In the production of TV programs it is always required to put titles. In non-linear editing, putting in titles can be a time consuming process because you need to export files so clients can see the result and if some corrections are to be made the process would need to resume again. To make the process simpler, we are using Smart Videohub 40x40 and ATEM Television Studio HD. We route signals on Smart Videohub 40x40 and combine titles and backgrounds on the ATEM Television Studio HD. This way it is faster and easier to show the result to our clients and it improved the efficiency. Even if some modifications are necessary, you can change it and show another version in a second,” said Tomoyuki Muroi, chief of the editing department.

He continued: “Smart Videohub 40x40 can be controlled by PC but adding Videohub Smart Control turned out to be a great choice, because you don’t need to start a PC and you can route signals quickly and intuitively. It is an essential part of the entire system. I also like the feature to assign SDI A and SDI B on one button, making it possible to route dual-link signals easily.”

For the linear machine rooms, Universal Videohub 72 has been installed to provide routing, along with a MultiView 16 for SDI video feed management. Typically, when SDI sources get switched for the main linear editing switchers, sources get switched in the same way on MultiView 16 simultaneously and automatically, using the SDI A/B routing feature on Videohub Smart Control. The signals for the line editing switchers are clean, while the signals for MultiView 16 have timecode burnt in.

“We had the experience of using Universal Videohub 72 for four years on another floor and decided to install another one since we were aware of how it is simple to use. It is easy to organize devices on PC and, even when you add another VTR, you can put labels and reorganize the system without stress. We also installed HyperDeck Studio so that clients can bring home data, without rendering out clips on NLE software. It is very convenient to output a signal from a NLE system and record the signal with one button. We find it advantageous that it supports not only ProRes but also DNx codecs. By supporting both codecs, HyperDeck has great compatibility with a wide range of NLE applications,” concluded Tomoyuki Muroi.

  • Wednesday, May. 23, 2018
Silver Spoon launches, looks to fill mo-cap void in NY VFX
Mo-cap space at Silver Spoon
BROOKLYN, NY -- 

Full-service performance capture studio Silver Spoon has opened its doors in Brooklyn, making it one of the largest commercially available mo-cap studios on the East Coast. Silver Spoon features a highly equipped 12,000 sq. foot facility, a comfortable mo-cap stage, production offices with full amenities, and a comprehensive service offering including body and facial capture, rigging and scanning, and post processing. The expertise of the Silver Spoon team spans motion capture and animation for commercials, award-winning AAA Games, and major motion pictures. 

“This entity fills a void for motion capture in New York,” said Silver Spoon managing director Dan Pack. “Looking at the incredible work being done by local VFX shops in commercials, film and TV on the East Coast, the missing piece was an all-encompassing performance capture and virtual production studio. “In fact, when we embarked on this venture with our Studio A last fall, we thought we might focus only on mo-cap, but we found that there was a need for a much broader offering.”

Silver Spoon features/specs include:

  • 65’x55’ Stage with 16’ to 20’ high ceilings, and a capture volume of approximately 53x50.
  • 48-camera Vicon Vantage system running latest version of Vicon Shogun
  • Four 4k reference cameras from multiple angles
  • BlackMagic Multiview for multiple video monitoring
  • Ambient Lockit Timecode and Sync Generators
  • 32-camera Optitrack system exclusively for VR

“Ultimately, we want people to do more work here in New York.” Pack said, pointing to the value of realtime production capabilities and virtual production in the aid of previsualization, as well as the need for high-end, realtime CG content. “Our job is to provide support to so many already-great East Coast artists. And the New York tax incentives are so lucrative, that most clients are looking to do more work here, given the chance.”

  • Monday, May. 21, 2018
Red Digital Cinema simplifies its portfolio to one DSMC2 BRAIN with 3 sensor options
The DSMC2 family
IRVINE, Calif. -- 

RED Digital Cinema is advancing its product portfolio of high-quality cameras and sensors with a focus on simplicity, price and quality for customers. Beginning today, RED’s camera line-up will be modified to include one DSMC2 camera BRAIN with three sensor options--MONSTRO 8K VV, HELIUM 8K S35 and GEMINI 5K S35. The single DSMC2 camera BRAIN includes high-end frame rates and data rates regardless of the sensor chosen and, in addition to this new value, the streamlined approach will result in a price reduction compared to RED’s previous camera line-up.

“RED was founded with the desire to democratize the digital cinema camera industry by making trailblazing technology accessible to shooters everywhere,” said Jarred Land, president of RED Digital Cinema. “And that mission has never changed. With that in mind, we have been working tirelessly to become more efficient, as well as align with strategic manufacturing partners to optimize our supply chain. As a result, today I am happy to announce a simplification of our lineup with a single DSMC2 brain with multiple sensor options, as well as an overall reduction on our pricing.”

RED’s DSMC2 camera BRAIN is a modular system that allows a shooter to configure a fully operational camera setup to meet their individual needs. RED offers a range of accessories including display and control functionality, Input/Output modules, mounting equipment, and methods of powering the camera. The DSMC2 camera BRAIN is capable of up to 60 frames per second at 8K, offers 300 MB/s data transfer speeds and simultaneous recording of REDCODE® RAW and Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/HR.

The RED DSMC2 camera BRAIN paired with each of RED’s sensor options provides the ultimate blend of flexibility and performance.

  • DSMC2 with MONSTRO 8K VV offers cinematic full frame lens coverage, produces ultra-detailed 35.4 megapixel stills, and delivers 17+ stops of dynamic range for $54,500.
  • DSMC2 with HELIUM 8K S35 is the recipient of the highest DxO score ever, delivers 16.5+ stops of dynamic range in a Super 35 frame, and is available now for $24,500.
  • DSMC2 with GEMINI 5K S35 leverages dual sensitivity modes to provide creators with greater flexibility using standard mode for well-lit conditions or low light mode for darker environments priced at $19,500.

RED will begin to phase out offering new sales of its EPIC-W and WEAPON camera BRAINs immediately. In addition to the changes to the camera line-up, RED will also begin offering new upgrade paths for customers looking to move from older RED camera systems or from one sensor to another. The full range of upgrade options can be found here.

“We would not be where we are today without the continued support of our customers,” continued Land. “And after having many conversations with a wide range of those customers, now is also the perfect time to announce our latest loyalty programs to give them the opportunity to upgrade to the latest RED technology.”
 

  • Sunday, May. 20, 2018
"Jurassic Park" dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms
In this May 21, 2016, file photo, Jack Horner sits under Montana's T-Rex in the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont. The Montana paleontologist, Horner, who consulted with director Steven Spielberg on the “Jurassic Park” movies is developing a three-dimensional hologram exhibit that will showcase the latest theories on what dinosaurs looked like. Horner and entertainment company Base Hologram are aiming to have multiple traveling exhibits ready to launch in spring 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Volz, File)
HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- 

Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.

Horner, who consulted with director Steven Spielberg on the "Jurassic Park" films, is developing a three-dimensional hologram exhibit that will showcase the latest theories on what dinosaurs looked like. He is working with entertainment company Base Hologram to create an exhibit that will let people feel as though they're on an archaeological dig, inside a laboratory and surrounded by dinosaurs in the wild.

"I'm always trying to figure out a good way to get the science of paleontology across to the general public," Horner said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "Like taking them into the field or taking them into my laboratory and then using the technology that we have to show people what dinosaurs were really like."

That understanding of what dinosaurs looked like has changed a lot since the original "Jurassic Park" in 1993. For example, researchers now believe dinosaurs were much more bird-like than lizard-like, and scientists studying dinosaur skulls have found keratin, a substance that gives birds their bright colors.

"We can see at least areas that could be vividly colored, very much like birds, and there's no reason to make them different from birds," Horner said.

Horner and Base Hologram workers have been developing the exhibit's story line for a couple of months, with plans to have multiple traveling exhibits ready to launch next spring. The company wants to place them in museums, science centers and other institutions where they might spur debate among scientists who don't share the theory that dinosaurs were colorful, feathered creatures.

"The controversy is OK because it makes people talk," said Base Hologram executive vice president Michael Swinney.

Live performances using holograms have gained attention in recent years, notably through concerts that feature likenesses of dead performers such as Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur.

Until now, Base Hologram, a subsidiary of the live entertainment company Base Entertainment, has used the technology to put on concerts by late singers Roy Orbison and Marie Callas. As the field becomes more competitive, the company is seeking new areas to apply the technology, such as science, CEO Brian Becker said.

Horner previously worked with Microsoft to create his dinosaur holograms that can be used with virtual and augmented reality technologies.

He noted the technology used in the exhibit can be applied even more broadly, including by paleontologists in their labs.

"What we do now is, when we want to envision something, we get an artist to paint it," Horner said. "Now, we're going to be able to create a 3-D immersive experience a lot better than a painting."

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